GUADALAJARA, Mexico – It was a rough weekend for US-born players in Mexico, but at least one Gringo was celebrating.
Phoenix-born Ventura Alvarado helped Club América to a 3-0 victory in the final of the Under-20 championship tournament. The 19-year-old defender, who debuted in América's youth system in January 2009, played in both legs of the semifinals and went the full 90 in the final.
But in the senior playoffs, a couple of shock results in the quarterfinals will keep the final four largely free of any US-born players. Sacramento-born Miguel Ángel Ponce played 90 minutes, but Chivas were dumped out of the quarters by outsiders Querétaro, who held on for a 0-0 tie to send the Gallos Blancos to the semis.
Querétaro's semifinal opponent will be Tigres UANL, who smashed Pachuca with three first-half goals to win 3-0. Jonathan Bornstein didn't dress for Tigres, nor did Pachuca's José Francisco Torres, who will now have to wait until the New Year for competitive action after fracturing a bone in his foot back in September.
Santos also qualified and will play Morelia in the other semifinal.
In Mexico's second-division playoffs, Marco Vidal and Club León marched on to the semifinals with a 2-0 victory over Irapuato. Vidal came on in the 68th minute.
Further south, Diego Restrepo's América de Cali won 4-1 away at Tolima and scraped through to the Colombian league playoffs.
Restrepo, an unused sub on Sunday, has recently written on Twitter of his desire to stay at América, despite rumors linking him with a move to Mexican club Pachuca in recent months.
Tom Marshall can be reached via email@example.com.